Following last years numbers of measles cases and fatalities in the southwestern Pakistan province of Balochistan, >700 and 43, respectively, a proposal for a measles vaccination campaign was submitted to health authorities.
However, here it is one year later and no vaccine campaign has been administered due to a lack of funding by the Balochistan government.
The result: Measles has claimed the lives of 22 children in the province and affected over 1,350 children in 2014.
“Officials had reminded the health department and other officials about the delay in the anti-measles vaccination campaign, but there is a lukewarm response to this very serious issue of child health,” an anonymous official said.
Balochistan Health Minister Rehman Saleh Baloch responded by saying the anti-measles campaign would be started during the month of November on an emergency basis.
Approximately ten days ago, the World Health Organization warned that progress towards the elimination of measles has stalled. The number of deaths from measles increased from an estimated 122,000 in 2012 to 145,700 in 2013.
“Poor progress in increasing measles vaccination coverage has resulted in large outbreaks of this highly contagious disease, throwing the 2015 elimination targets off-track,” said Dr Peter Strebel from the WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals.
More than 60% of the estimated 21.5 million children who were not vaccinated against measles at 9 months of age last year came from 6 countries: India (6.4 million), Nigeria (2.7 million), Pakistan (1.7 million), Ethiopia (1.1 million), Indonesia (0.7 million) and Democratic Republic of Congo (0.7 million).
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